Similar to Campfire, HipChat provides a simple application for communication within businesses. HipChat offers both a web and desktop client based on Adobe AIR that lets you chat with your entire team at once, or hold more private discussions with select team members. The application includes support for quick attachment sharing, notifications when you receive a message, and a searchable web archive for past messages. It’s incredibly easy to use and setup and doesn’t require a company email address.
The newest version of HipChat adds the ability to enable video and voice chat with fellow users. This feature will be included with the paid plans for the service. Guest access enables employees to generate URLs that allow non-HipChat members and people outside their company to access group chats.
It’s actually a pretty nifty feature for any business that wants add another communication layer (besides email) with clients, vendors, or contractors. Guest Access could also be used to offer live customer support for a business. Like all chat history, guest messages and files are archived automatically but guests can only access the chat logs created during the time they were invited to the room. Like video chat, GuestAccess will be includes in the paid versions of HipChat.
For a bootstrapped startup, HipChat seems to be gaining traction in the space. The company has “thousands” of companies using its application, with over one million messages sent since the company launched in private beta.
HipChat was founded by Garret Heaton, Pete Curley, Chris Rivers, who previously founded calendar startup HipCal, which was acquired by Plaxo in 2006. At Plaxo (which was eventually acquired by Comcast) the team helped build out Plaxo Pulse. HipChat, which recently raised $100K in funding, faces competition from 37 Signals’ Campfire and Yammer.